Sunday, June 14, 2009

2437 Tehran, and 2100

Sunday, June 14, 2009

If you love something, set it free.
And if it flies away, run after it and kill it.


Michael Totten has pulled together commentary on the situation in Iran, including some videos, one of which I have embedded.

In this video, riot police ride motorcycles into a crowd. The crowd manages to unseat a rider, and set a motorcycle on fire. And then, they help an injured policeman to a safe spot and offer him water.


Go read Michael's stuff, here, and here.


Saturday night I accidentally watched "earth2100". Apparently ABC aired it on June 2, and then repeated it late last night. I was on my way to bed when I caught a bit as I was turning off the kitchen TV, and was fascinated, and ended up watching it all the way through.

The story is told as comic strip panels (or as the non-readers call it, "graphic novel" format, bleck, and no, that doesn't make comic books sound any more intellectual, sorry, good try but no cigar, beeeeep, thud). The Wikipedia entry linked above pretty much covers the story. It is speculation, science fiction, depicting a possible future.

I found it depressing, because global warming or not, human causes or not, whatever one's opinion or theory, much of the ball is already rolling - the water problems in the west, the melting of ice caps, overpopulation, the cutting of rainforests, the movement of tropical flora and fauna into temperate areas. No one can deny any of that. It simply IS.

The scariest part to me was the thawing of tundra, which would release massive amounts of methane. I hadn't thought of that before. If the glaciers and polar ice are melting (and they are, NOW) how long will it be before the tundra thaws? Is that a tipping point? Or have we already passed it?

By the time it was over, I was glad I had no grandchild. Even if things don't go as the movie suggests it might, I have a feeling the future is grim.

Since then I've read various opinions of "earth2100" from both sides of the global warming debate. I am disturbed by the number of people who just wave it off. They say it's a natural cycle, no big deal. Well, yeah, no big deal to the earth and cockroaches. They'll continue. But will we?

One blogger pooh-poohs "earth2100" as fear mongering:
"If you have tweens and teens, this is one show they don’t need to view. Let them live their lives hopeful and knowing our world is ok – because it is, and it will be for their kids. If we all believe that, we’ll take the necessary steps to ensure our futures."
"Knowing that our world is ok ... we'll take the necessary steps"? Um, that doesn't compute.

And that's the problem. I don't think we will take the necessary steps.

We waste water, and large parts of the country are drying up. We waste oil, but, hey, I NEED my Hummer. We pollute the air, but hey I can buy those allowance thingies and keep right on doing it, ok? We cut down rainforests, and then wonder why weather patterns are changing. We refuse to acknowledge there's any problem until it affects us directly, then we want the government to fix it.

Easter Island once had a thriving population. The island had plenty of fresh water, and was heavily forested. And then, for some reason, possibly in part to raise all those stone heads, they cut down all the trees. That changed the ecology of the island drastically, in a bad way. And then all the people died. One of the lines I remember best from "earth2100" was (paraphrased), "I wonder what the person who cut down that last tree was thinking as he did it?"

I can pretty much figure out what he was thinking: "But *I* need it! I'm cold! If I don't get it, Joe will, so I may as well."

Replace those big stone heads with dollar signs. Would we have done any better? Been any smarter?

(Everybody wants their little piece, and the Earth as we need it might die the death of a thousand nibbles.)

I have absolutely no faith in mankind's ability to "take the necessary steps". The human race is too selfish, too greedy, unable to think ahead, and when they don't already know what the solution is (and have not been assured that a solution, when found, won't require deprivation on their part), then they will deny that there is any problem until it's way too late.

There IS a problem. Forget the words "global warming" if they bother you. Forget "Al Gore"; this is not a political discussion. Look at what IS happening, and what the results of that *might* be. How sure do you have to be to even consider it? By the time you get to 60% sure, it's too late.


I searched briefly, and the only place I could find "earth2100" for safe free viewing was on YouTube, in nine parts. I thought ABC might have it available, but they don't. Part 1 of 9 is here: Starting there it should be easy enough to find the other eight parts. (Actually I prefer movies in parts. That makes it easier to wander away and pick it up again later.)

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